Chris Brogan: Marketer, do-gooder, and stand up comedian

Chris Brogan at Oakley Headquarters 
This week, I had the pleasure of hearing Chris Brogan speak at an event sponsored by my favorite networking group, LinkedOC. For those who don't know, Chris is the best-selling author of the New York Times bestseller Trust Agents and writes one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world, www.chrisbrogan.com. Now, lots of people will provide you with a solid recap of the event, so I'm not going down the path most traveled. What I will do, however, is give you with a look at the man behind the hype.

I've followed Chris on Twitter for quite awhile and I read Trust Agents last year. It's obvious that Chris gets it and is putting the onus on all of us to humanize our businesses. His presentation to the group, however, was more human than I expected. Chris is a riot.

A self proclaimed nerd with an affinity for comic books, his presentation was better than any stand-up routine I've seen in years. With references to Star Wars and the Matrix, a quote from Yoda, stories of stunt sandwiches and the value of nipples, Chris' talk was jam-packed with quotable quotes. Two of my favorites were, "Foursquare is the AOL of the future" and "I am a self-proclaimed bag whore" (as he talked about his addiction to buying travel and business cases). I had no idea this incredibly successful man was king of the one-liners. I laughed so hard I felt like I was in the audience of a Comic Relief show (a dated 80s reference, but I somehow think Chris would approve).

I tell you this story for one reason. News alert, my friends, being human is the new black. Chris is hot stuff on the speakers' circuit these days and gets paid big bucks to speak with very important people. He could very easily maintain a seemingly friendly relationship with all us social media types who worship the ground he walks on, but keep up a wall that separates him from the little people. Not only is that wall non-existent, Chris seems to go out of his way to make people feel special.

I watched him before the event started as he graciously took business cards from every person who thrust them upon him. I saw him take people's words of thanks and turn them back around to thank them for coming out. I looked on as he wrote lengthy notes in people's books, not just scribbling his name and a word or two as many authors do. And, I marveled as he remembered the people he met and called on them by name in the Q&A session. Color me impressed.

The people who really understand the power of social media, know that it's all about the relationships you form. Helping one another succeed, supporting each other, and forming a community. From this point forward, I'm inclined to think of Chris as the Papa Smurf of Twitter. Encouraging all of us to do good, help one another, and make the world a better place.

So get your human, on. It's the latest rage and it's here to stay. And, boy, do we all look good in it.

29 comments:

  1. I love your reference to color - " being human is the new black " I'll have to blog about that one! LoL

    I'm so glad I found your blog. As I mentioned on a previous post, I'll be readying yours today. I started out with Twitter but moved more so to Facebook since my blog is more visual, it gave me a better venue for that.

    Anyway, I've use social media heavily and in doing so, have not advertised for my business (Decorating by Donna) since 2007. Business is the busiest it's ever been and I thank social media for it.

    Thanks Amber :-)

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  2. Excellent success story, Donna! The opportunities are certainly out there. Glad it's working so well for you!

    Thanks again for connecting and taking the time to chime in.

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  3. Hi Amber,
    I agree with you! Great event last night.

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  4. "..the Papa Smurf of Twitter."

    He's also the Uncle Walter (Cronkite) of my Google reader. Great post Amber. Being transparent and vulnerable shows that we're real, and not just some facade that our friends, family and clients can't relate to.

    I'm thrilled to know that I'm not the only "Bag Whore" out there.

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  5. Thank you Amber for a great description of Chris Brogan. I've seen him speak on live stream before and look forward to the day I can see him live. You've only reinforced that mission for me!
    And thanks to Chris for tweeting your post. I look forward to reading you regularly in the future.
    Best,
    Brenda

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  6. Thanks, Brenda! Yes, just like the Rolling Stones, Chris is so much better in person!

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I look forward to connecting again.

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  7. It was, indeed! Sorry we didn't get a chance to meet. Hopefully at Bryan's next event, huh? I'm the gal with the long red hair...

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  8. Wish I'd known, I would've probably given up my tuesday night #poker game for this :)

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  9. I've trained enough proteg├ęs to take a night off every once in awhile :)

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  10. Hi Amber, nice recap of the evening. Just as he was when I saw him speak last year, Chris was very down-to-earth and approachable and you captured that well. Color me impressed as well by his name-recall ability. Great to meet you last night, too, albeit briefly.

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  11. Everything you said is so true! That's one of the reasons I also love the event host, Bryan Elliott. He not only talks the we > me, but he walks it!

    Good advice on the interested versus interesting front. Something for all of us to remember!

    * Thanks for leaving your very first comment on my blog! Much appreciated, Ricardo.

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  12. Mitch, I'm so glad you recognized me! I sometimes have a hard time recognizing people in a crowd, so thanks so much for introducing yourself! Hope our paths cross again in the near future.

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  13. Sat next to you at #LinkedOC, jotted copious notes but kinda like yours more. Next time I'll have what you're having.

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  14. Hee hee! Yes, you were active on the MyPad ;-> Whatever I'm having, I'll order it for two next time. Thanks so much for connecting. Hope to see you at another event soon!

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  15. The fact he hasn't come here to comment (despite tweeting about it) shows exactly the kind of guy the "new Brogan" is.

    Yes, he was all the things you mention in your post prior to his book coming out last year. Then, he swiftly became "that guy" he told everyone not to be. Shameless promotion of his ventures at every opportunity; jumping theme ship despite continuing to sell one he knew he was leaving; making backhand deals with client competitors. They're just for starters.

    He's also remembered for telling a very influential blogger that as soon as he turns his back on people at events, he promptly forgets them. And business cards? Trashes them.

    Yes, he's a stand-up guy all right...

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  16. Yep, not commenting makes me the biggest jerk. It was a little tricky to comment from 30,000 feet today. I started my day at 6AM and got to my client' meeting at 6PM. Sorry not to meet your standards on that one.

    As for forgetting people, ask anyone at LinkedOC how I did with name and detail recognition.

    Here's where you're 100% right: I definitely throw away business cards. I make no bones about that.

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  17. I'm neither confirming or denying the bag gender thing. : )

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  18. Amber, great recep as always! Sorry I couldn't make the event and sorry to have missed you! I definitely missed an extraordinary opportunity. Hope to catch him the next time he's in the area.

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  19. I had no idea what to expect and was so delighted when it was over. If you ever have the chance to see Chris speak in person, I highly recommend it. It's like getting your MBA while enjoying a night at The Comedy Store. Only, there's no two drink minimum.

    Thanks for chiming in, Sukhraj. Hope to see you at a future LinkedOC event!

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  20. Chris, as you can see, there are a lot of comments here from people who love you and only one Jake with a bone to pick. We've got your back, baby! Come back to LA anytime. We'll leave the light on for you ;->

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  21. Wow, pretty harsh Jake. For the record, Chris tweeted me as soon as my blog post went live. He thanked me for it and complimented me on it. And, based on his comment, I could tell that he had actually read it.

    He had a whirlwind trip to LA and boarded a plan this morning. I thought it was pretty great that he took time out to acknowledge me and I am not in the least bit offended that he hasn't left a comment. You and I should hope to ever be in such demand.

    As for the cards, I can't speak for him, but do you really expect someone of his stature to keep every bit of information he is given? He'd have to rent a warehouse to store it all.

    You obviously have your opinion, but based on my experience, we're going to have to agree to disagree. Chris is top-notch in my book.

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  22. It just came to me and seemed to fit so perfectly! Besides, Papa Smurf is blue and the Twitter bird is blue, so it's destiny, right?

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  23. Oh, Batman. Why are you playing poker? Doesn't Gotham need saving?

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  24. I think it's implied that all us girls are bag whores. :-> Nice to know that we can take Chris with us next time Twitter has a #ShoppingTweetup!

    Thanks for adding to the conversation, Amy!

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  25. You know what I like about Chris, he makes it about everyone else in the room. He does a phenomenal job of introducing people to one another never letting anyone feel left out even if you're the quite kid in the corner standing back from the rest of the group.

    A friend of mine says "Be interested, not interesting." In other words, listen to what other people have to say and share a genuine interest in what they have to share. That'll bring you so much more than talking through the blowhorn trying to spread your silly little message.

    Great recap Amber, loved it very much!

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  26. But there is such a thing as saving a bag to store other bags in, right? Yeah, I do it in other people's houses too...sigh

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  27. Love the "Papa Smurf of Twitter" perfect! I also think Chris just "gets it" his new company will help a lot of people.

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  28. The Papa Smurf thing just came to me and seemed so appropriate! Yes, should be interesting to follow Chris' new company HBW. I'm sure it's destined to do good things!

    Thanks, Mary!

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